A submarine veteran is cycling 260 miles to the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy to support the armed forces charity SSAFA.

John Ham, 29, will begin the cycle at home in Orpington and is raising money for SSAFA after they prevented him from becoming homeless after serving in the Royal Navy.

The charity also helped John after a marriage breakdown and the unexpected death of his mother.

He said: “At a low point in my life SSAFA helped me get back on my feet and find a place to live when I left the armed forces.

“Without them I would have been homeless and potentially sleeping on the streets. I really didn’t want to ask for help and felt that I was taking money away from people who needed it more than me, but now I am proud to give back to help future veterans in need.”

John is setting off to France on Friday (October 12) with his cousin, Simon Cousins, who is currently serving in the RAF.

He added: “Seeing the final resting places of our heroic predecessors will be a moving moment. We are carrying out this challenge to honour the fallen and pay our respects – but it means a great deal to us both that our cycling will make a difference to the military community today as well.

“Some of the veterans that SSAFA supports were here fighting on the beaches, in fact. It is important for us to do our part to help our fellow forces family.”

John left the Royal Navy through injury after working on the submarines as a sonar operator for seven years before struggling to readjust to civilian life.

You can support his D-Day challenge through his JustGiving link here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/normandy2018